Common Sense and Social Media: 5 key tips for your Business

Just the other day I was sitting in a meeting with a new client, I was hired to overlook the Social Media efforts and new web design for a company. Basically, my client has quite a few businesses and is about to make a large investment in this particular one and fair enough, he just needed to know my thoughts on what was up.

Won’t bore you with the details, it was quite a long lunch meeting and the food was pretty bad too. My general feeling as I walked out was, oh my! Basically, the manager of this company had no idea what was going on, all web efforts and Social Media were being managed by “others” and he didn’t even have a Facebook profile (or know the link to the company website at that!).

As I sat down to take my notes I realized how much work I had at hand, work that started with a very heart-to-heart meeting with this manager. There are so many basics in business that can apply to web and Social Media, I am still surprised by people in high positions that refuse to see the value of a well-planned strategy or even the threat of a strategy gone wrong.

Let’s look at some basics:

a) Your website, your Facebook Page & your Twitter account are all important extensions of your business. CEO’s and managers, you must be 100% sure that you own and control every single one of them. What happens if your Social Media Manager (secretary/intern) decides to take off? Or what if you have to fire him/her? There’s a very slim chance that they can walk off with every single access to your accounts, what will you do then?

b) Know the tools! It’s understandable that not EVERYBODY is on Social Media. My dad, for example, it took us forever to get him to open a Facebook profile. But then again, Facebook has the option to make your profile so private that nobody can see you or find you. If your company markets via Facebook and you invest time and money on it, you have to make sure you’re checking, reading & following.

c) Social Media Policies… I know that writing policies are a bore but they can be so necessary when it comes to marketing through Social Media. Most branded profiles organically become customer service channels, how can you be sure that your personnel is using the correct language? Have you talked to them about how they should manage negative feedback? Even worse, are they deleting posts & feedback instead of dealing with it? All these issues need to be documented and addressed down to the tone you wish for your brand and the steps to manage crisis communication.

d) Strategy. More often than not, most brands and businesses fall into the routine of random online efforts. Facebook is full of interesting but random posts whilst Twitter is focused on communicating other issues. They both drive traffic to the website but there is no clear plan as to what the users should be looking for. Getting lost in random efforts happens often and this is why clear strategies must be put in place. I’ve always suggested monthly efforts (or quarterly), for example, if a company is launching a new product then target your messaging, drive all traffic to a landing page and strategize Facebook & Twitter messaging to the product. Need an easy way to focus? Just take a look at your company goals and you’ll find the answer.

e) Analyze and measure. Numbers can be a scary thing and it is amazing how many people haven’t even heard of analytics for websites. I’ve been in meetings with large corporations that have spent thousands of dollars on a website without even knowing they can measure visits, keywords, clicks, content, etc. Now, having Google Analytics isn’t the end of the road, if you’re serious about your online efforts and are investing in a website and Social Media, you need to go further than that. Looking at visits won’t help you see if you’ve reached your goals, nor is looking at Facebook insights. Once you have set your goal and your strategy make sure you are measuring accordingly.

Common sense is a word I use a lot in Social Media management, it is clear that Facebook & Twitter is not just for teens. Exposing your company or your brand to Social Media requires planning, strategy and yes, business common sense.

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